With the proliferation of copycat apps on official app stores, it’s more difficult than ever to determine whether an app you’re downloading is genuine. Outside of the well-known and trusted names, how do you know if an unknown developer with few reviews is truly creating useful apps or simply creating vehicles for malware to infiltrate your smartphone?
If you’re on Twitter, you’ll understand how irritating it is to be followed by a garbled name with no followers, only to receive a tweet with nothing more than a link. And Facebook is rife with fake profiles, some of which have good intentions, but the vast majority are there to provide fake Likes on demand – or to spam genuine users with phishing links. Never, no matter how convincing the message, click on a link sent by a stranger. Even if it appears to be harmless at the time, you could end up giving your valuable personal information to a criminal or, worse, having malware installed on your mobile device.
𝐒𝐌𝐒 𝐏𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 (𝐒𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠)
The same is true for traditional SMS, with messages arriving from unknown numbers urging you to respond to a number or click on a link to open it in your phone’s browser. Again, while this may appear to be harmless, it is more likely to install malware on your phone – or at the very least alert scammers to the fact that your phone number is active and worth targeting again.
Voice phishing, also known as vishing, has a human component and can take many forms. A scammer may call posing as your bank, request your security information and PIN number, and inform you that your card has been compromised and that a courier will be arriving soon with a replacement. Of course, the replacement is a forgery, and the scammer walks away with your real card and security information. Even in the absence of a physical element, simple voice phishing for login information is common and surprisingly effective. Because your bank will never ask for your PIN, never give it to anyone who does. If your bank calls you unexpectedly, tell them you’ll call them back before providing any security information.
𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐑𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐬
In this scam, the scammer will call once and then hang up, hoping to entice you to call the number back. These numbers may be toll lines, and calling them may result in you paying a premium rate for the phone call.